Bennington Teachers Vote To Strike

10/13/11 7:04AM By Susan Keese
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(Host) Bennington area teachers have authorized their negotiators to call a strike on October 19th. That's unless ‘sufficient progress' is made towards a contract by that time.

VPR's Susan Keese has more.

(Shouts)

(Keese) Members of the Southwestern Vermont Education Association cheered as union president Stephannie Peters announced the results of their vote Wednesday:  209 in favor of the walk out, 12 against.

Peters says the teachers hope the strike won't happen.

(Peters) "We are committed to coming up with a solution that is acceptable to both parties. We would much rather be walking in out hallways and teaching in our classrooms than walking on picket lines."

(Keese) A meeting between the two sides last week ended in an impasse. But the boards and union have agreed to meet again, aided by a neutral facilitator, next Tuesday, October 18.

Peters says the teachers will strike the next morning unless three major concerns are addressed.

(Peters) "Those are salary, health insurance contributions, as well as the work day for middle school, high school and career and tech ed teachers.''

(Keese) A walkout would affect schools in Bennington, North Bennington, Pownal and Shaftsbury.

Southwest Supervisory Union Superintendent Catherine McClure says the boards are considering canceling classes if a strike is called.

For VPR News, I'm Susan Keese in Bennington.

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